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Copyright and Free Speech Fund Appeal

The following letter was recently mailed to members of the Authors Guild:

We need your help, and we need it right away. In recent years, the Authors Guild has taken legal action in a number of cases of crucial importance to the copyright community. These cases have included fighting Google Book Search’s commercial scanning of over 14 million books and its display of portions of those works, as well as the shared repository created by academic libraries from those scans – all without any payment. We at the Authors Guild have fought hard in these and other litigations, because we’re committed to ensuring that writers can continue to make a living in the digital economy.

Our litigation has cost millions of dollars. We can’t continue to bear these costs alone.  In order to defray these expenses and provide more funds for member support and daily operations, we’ve created the Copyright and Free Speech Fund as part of the Authors Guild Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity that supports the Authors Guild’s advocacy efforts. With the help of your tax-deductible contribution, we’ll ensure that copyright protection and creators’ rights continue to have a voice in our legal system.

Our advocacy benefits authors around the world. On June 10, for example, we won an $18 million settlement in our class-action lawsuit over the use of literary works in electronic databases—the fruition of fourteen years of litigation. All funds from the settlement will go directly to authors who have seen their work infringed upon.

Your contribution to the Fund is essential to keeping our advocacy efforts strong and vital. Our historic copyright infringement lawsuit, Authors Guild v. Google, entered its tenth year on September 20, and we intend to fight this issue all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary. We will argue the case before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday, December 3. Taking it to the Supreme Court could cost nearly one million dollars. We’ve also filed briefs in other actions to protect authors’ contracts, copyrights, and their ability to make a living from writing. We want to be able to continue supporting similar cases in the future, but it is expensive.

Unfortunately, litigating against large organizations that jeopardize authors’ rights has become a necessity in today’s digital world. Regardless of the expense, we can’t give up in this battle.

We enclose a form with instructions on how to make a donation. We hope you’ll support our efforts to support you.